My wife Kate and I had just moved out to British Columbia in search of commercial diving work. We were newly wed after having met traveling in Honduras and come to Canada together. I happened to be reading a whimsical book called The Adventurers Handbook about some of the lighter sides of early exploration. There were some interesting points though that got me daydreaming of what I would do if I were to undertake the biggest adventure I could dream up; the stuff legends are made of. My mind went to the famous 7 summits and what the equivalent of that would be to a diver. The internet revealed a surprising vacuum of information regarding high altitude lakes. The only real resource I was able locate in the beginning was a listing of the highest known lakes around the world: available here.
The prospect of uncharted territory and a new frontier of exploration captivated me and the Steep N' Deep Project was born. The goal was to dive the highest altitude body of water on every continent, including dives under the Antarctic ice, on the side of Mount Everest and in the top of the world's highest volcano. This was the operational goal for the next 10 months of planning until we realized that the logistical magnitude of such a feat was beyond our capacity as this was the first expedition.
Bourton Scott was a friend from dive school who was also working in British Columbia and a clear fit for the kind of partner I needed for this project. I introduced the project to him and he was instantly sold on the idea and we fortuitously ended up working together in a commercial diving gig shortly after in Vancouver Island's tiny fishing/surfing village of Tofino.
The plan evolved from my initial idea of taking on the challenge alone, to diving a 3-man surface supplied dive team, to a fabricated sidemount dive configuration adapted into a full face mask to allow for dry gas switches utilizing a custom manifold system. This is all diver jargon, but the point is that the process continued for months as we spent countless hours dreaming and planning how in the world we were going to make this happen. We believe in the idea and have never doubted the success of this project.
As I said, we eventually concluded that organizing 7 separate expeditions to repeatedly do something that had never been attempted before was foolhardy. We thought that perhaps we had better narrow the goal down for now to diving the volcano and Everest (yes, I know how that sounds). I just had to dive the Himalaya though and spent a lot of time searching for the right mission to direct our efforts towards.
We scoured the internet for candidate Himalayan lakes to explore the limits of extreme-environment diving physiology and to demonstrate our lightweight concepts for remote location commercial dive operations. We want to show that we are capable of performing in the most inhospitable locations on the planet in order to safely carry out professional underwater operations.
Despite the seriousness of what we were planing, irony came to our rescue by providing our first external contact and future Project filmmaker in the form of the following video...
So where are we now? The Project is snowballing and we are simultaneously planning a major international expedition with a team comprised of the leaders of their respective industries, planning a comprehensive suite of research tasks, developing our business, marketing and sponsorship platforms as well as working full time as commercial divers and still trying to spend time with